The Government is proposing to sell off the profitable parts of the banks it nationalised during the current recession: Royal Bank of Scotland, Northern Rock and Lloyds. But adding to existing High Street Banks is not the only option. Dr Hazel Dawe comments:
“I have a confession to make. Once upon a time I worked in banks. But it was not in the UK. It was in Austria, where the banking system is highly regulated. Banks should be regulated to get rid of bonuses. The Government sell-off of parts of its stake in Royal Bank of Scotland, Northern Rock and Lloyds should be used as an opportunity to create community banks.
“The Government could protect the existing network of post offices and mail delivery arrangements and give added commercial freedom to Royal Mail, Parcelforce, and Post Office Counters Limited. It could introduce strict controls on the financial sector to ensure that it serves the purposes of a sustainable economy. To ensure stability, it should regulate all financial instruments firmly and permit only those that are transparent, that offer limited risk of financial destabilisation and are clearly beneficial.
“A network of local Community Banks could be established, helping to replace the Post Offices many communities in Kent and Medway have lost. These should be democratically accountable non-profit-making trusts, which would be able to provide low-cost finance both at district and regional levels. Any operating surplus arising from these Community Banks would be reinvested in their local communities. Promoting and supporting credit unions and micro-credit schemes in which small groups of people cooperate to provide guaranteed small loans to each other would increase access to loans as well.”
FURTHER INFORMATION: Dr Hazel Dawe, Chair, Kent Green Party on 01732 355185 and 079444 71083. Contact address as above